the balcony of europe

After leaving Berlin, we next visited Meissen, which is famous for it’s porcelain factory –the first in Europe.  We walked through the town, getting some fresh nectarines and grapes from a fruit shop – the various “departments” of our traditional grocery store are broken into separate shops (fruit store, butcher shop, grains, etc) that line the streets of these picturesque towns.  With sticky fingers, we paid to use the bathroom to wash our hands before continuing on the famous Meissen porcelain factory.  Since the early 13th century, the wealthy merchants and royalty of Europe imported their highly coveted porcelain at lavish prices from the Chinese.  Johann Friedrich Bottger was convinced (i.e. locked him in a room for nearly 10 years) by the king to discover the secret recipe that resulted in porcelain.  His work finished in Meissen in the early 18th century ad Europe’s first porcelain factory opened in Meissen – 300 years later it’s still here.  We walked through the stores but we couldn’t even afford to look at the creations in even the Meissen Outlet store…mighty proud of their porcelain 😉

DSC_1138{the outside of our fruit shop}

DSC_1132{moody skies}DSC_1137 DSC_1143 DSC_1146 DSC_1148 DSC_1151 DSC_1145{grapes grow like yummy, beautiful weeds around here!}DSC_1141 DSC_1153{peep that 1634 euro plate.  yep.}DSC_1154 DSC_1155

Next we moved onto Dresden.  Completely flattened with fire bombings in WW2, Dresden chose to rebuild in the old style in an effort to salvage their heritage.  The result is a beautiful medieval looking city that boasts all the comforts of modern day living.  Pretty sweet combo.  We took a Rick Steve’s walking tour around the town seeing the rebuilt opera house, royal palace and their expansive [Italian inspired] gardens, the Dresden cathedral.

DSC_1160{dresden city square – the stone is beginning to look old because stone oxides about 30 years in the weather.  then they strip it and apply a silicone layer to seal it}DSC_1161 DSC_1165 DSC_1167{the statue of “no-one important”}DSC_1166 DSC_1168 DSC_1171 DSC_1176 DSC_1178 DSC_1180 DSC_1182{what statues are your favorite??}

DSC_1190{incredible palace gardens}DSC_1188 DSC_1191 {our fabulous tour guide telling us about what we were looking at – this reminded me a great deal of the Roman Baths we saw in Bath, England}  DSC_1197

{during the fire raids of WW2, Dresden was completely flattened}  DSC_1207{these murals are made of hundreds of Meissen porcelain tiles documenting the progression of weaponry and fashion over the course of 300 years}DSC_1208 DSC_1209 DSC_1217{their silverware always arrives like this!}DSC_1218 DSC_1219{clearly, i’m not too sure about this}
DSC_1223

After touring the city, we checked in at our hotel across the street and took a quick nap before heading back to the downtown to see more beauty from the riverside.

DSC_1226 DSC_1228{a beautiful perch along the riverside dubbed affectionately as the balcony of Europe}

DSC_1233{sweet pants dudes}DSC_1240 DSC_1238 DSC_1244